Redwood & Wildfire is a novel of what might have been. At the turn of the 20th century, minstrel shows transform into vaudeville, which slides into moving pictures. Hunkering together in dark theatres, diverse audiences marvel at flickering images. This ''dreaming in public'' becomes common culture and part of what transforms immigrants and ''native'' born into Americans. Redwood, an African American woman, and Aidan, a Seminole Irish man, journey from Georgia to Chicago, from haunted swampland to a ''city of the future.'' Gifted performers and hoodoo conjurors, they struggle to call up the wondrous world they imagine, not just on stage and screen, but on city streets, in front parlours, in wounded hearts. The power of hoodoo is the power of the community that believes in its capacities to heal and determine the course of today and tomorrow. Living in a system stacked against them, Redwood and Aidan s power and talent are torment and joy. Their search for a place to be who they want to be is an exhilarating, painful, magical adventure. Blues singers, filmmakers, haints, healers.Her first novel, Mindscape, opened me up and led me on a tour around the stars.
This past weekend I left my house in the country and spent two days San Francisco to celebrate Pride. This year Pride felt especially special because, well, this is the first year in a long time in which I don’t live in a major metropolitan area where there are tons of gay people. I am enjoying the small town I live in, but it’s not within walking distance of the Castro. Small-town life is just an entirely different experience from walking down the street and spotting half a dozen dykes with lovely tattoos peeking out of their T-shirt sleeves and/or a gaggle of gay boys with perfectly coiffed haircuts.Read the rest here.
So. Pride. It felt good to be among the queer folks again. It was comfortable. Practically everybody I saw was gay; they all probably assumed I’m gay — we had a gay old time.
It was basically the opposite of what I’ve had to do more and more this year: come out to total strangers. I know that I’m going to have to continue to do this as Ash is published and I meet more people, who don’t know me, in non-gay settings like bookstores or conferences. I’ve already had to do this a lot this year, and so far, it hasn’t gotten any more fun. Let me show you what typically happens:
AT A BOOK EVENT
Me: Hi, I’m Malinda.
Person I Just Met: Hi! Are you a writer?
Me: Yes. My book, Ash, comes out in September.
PIJM: Oh! What’s it about?
Me (steeling myself): It’s a lesbian retelling of Cinderella.
[Note: I could leave the lesbian part out, but really, that's why my book is different. And somehow that will come out anyway, while the person asks me how my retelling differs from the original tale. It's better, I've concluded, to just shove Ash out of the closet right away.]